Engrossing and transportingFood, romance and Italy are center stage in Victoria Cosford’s memoir Amore and Amaretti. Though she comes to Italy to study its language and culture at the Michelangelo Institute, Vicky quickly abandons her classwork when she meets the charming, volatile Gianfranco, a chef who teaches her the arts of Italian living, loving and cooking. When he is working she hangs out in the cool stone rooms of his restaurant; when he is free they travel the back roads of Italy to see tiny shops in sunny alleys and ancient villages set by the sea or atop grassy hills. Within six months they are living together and Vicky is running the kitchen of his restaurant, but though Gianfranco brings her more joy than she ever thought possible, her great love brings her great pain too, which means this memoir is not just a light-hearted frolic of travel and delicious meals. Gianfranco and Italy become centers of her life that she keeps circling back to, feeling not completely whole in either Italy or her native Australia, where she works in advertising and journalism. After her initial four year visit in her twenties, by the age of fifty Vicky has returned to Italy more three times, usually brought back by a call from the irresistible Gianfranco who wants her to work in whatever restaurant venture he is involved in at the time. In trying to find the right balance of life, work, love and joy, she eats too much food and makes some cringe-worthy decisions about men, then vows again to live the better, fuller life she imagines for herself. Packed with aromatic descriptions of Italian sights and mouthwatering food, this is a great book for armchair travel and cooking inspiration. Twenty enticing Italian recipes are layered throughout the text.